Spencer Sunshine: Get ready for the new wave: Young, passionately Jewish — and anti-Zionist

In 2019, there are more haters than lovers of the Jewish Left.

Especially in the United States, the mainstream Jewish community reviles left-wing Jews who embrace anti-Zionism.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Left itself is split. On one side are the “Left Zionists” who support a two-state solution and back Israeli democratic-socialist parties like Meretz. On the other side are the anti-Zionists, who are opposed to a Jewish state existing, regardless of its borders, and tend to support a one-state solution.

The larger Left, for whom rejecting Zionism has become mandatory in most circles, doesn’t like the Left Zionists. Many in the larger Left consider Zionism toxic, and alternately label it as racist, fascist, apartheid, colonialist and/or white supremacist. Over and over on the Left, Zionism gets raised as a litmus test even in domestic politics that have nothing to do with the Middle East. A prominent example occurred in 2017 when Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour suggested that Zionism and feminism were incompatible.

The Left Zionists in turn don’t like the Jewish anti-Zionists. But many in the mainstream Jewish community also lump Left Zionists, or anyone who strongly criticizes Israel, in with anti-Zionists. The treatment of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street – dismissed as radical by much of the Jewish mainstream but also so moderate that they are often shunned by the Jewish Left – is a good example.

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